22 May 2016

Birthday quilt

My first born turned 40 in April.  You know that time is slipping away when your children start having BIG birthdays.  

I have wanted to make her a quilt for some time but, knowing how fussy she is about patterns and colours, I kept putting it off.  When I found a pattern and fabric which I loved and just had to use, I decided to make her a quilt and hope for the best.

During the making of this quilt, which I call 'Stairways' I fell in love with it as did several others who saw it so that I knew if M didn't like it, I would be able to find it a good home.

As it turned out, that wasn't necessary because she loves it (I think she is being truthful).

It is always welcome to come home again, as I think it looks rather nice in my house.  Don't they say that the best presents are those that you don't want to give away.

30 April 2016

Flowers and more flowers

The light in London is so good for photography and the flowers are so plentiful and affordable.  I spent a lot of time putting flowers on windowsills and taking their picture.

Little M decided that one of her Sylvanian Family members should also pose for a photo.

I never thought I would see daffodils and hydrangeas together.  In Australia, their flowering is separated by months.  It seems that in London, anything is possible.

This beautiful pot of bulbs was insanely (by Australian standards) cheap to buy and provided weeks of pleasure.

 I prepared this post some time ago, but family events have taken precedence over blogging of late so these spring flowers are somewhat out of season now. I thought they were still worth sharing.

11 April 2016

Wood block printing

I bought these lovely wood blocks while in London as they were so decorative and also because I wanted to try my hand at printing with them.

My first attempts at printing were not successful as I had not realised  it was necessary to remove the white paint first. Until the penny dropped,  I couldn't understand why there were flakes of paint in my prints.  Once I had washed it off, however, I was really pleased with the result.  Luckily I experimented on scrap fabric first.

The printing is  not perfect and here and there are little spots of  paint, but I really don't mind that as it gives the fabric a hand-made look rather than a mass-produced one.

I used a couple of cushion covers which I picked up in Spotlight for a very reasonable price (just in case I was unsuccessful).  Now that I know what I am doing, I would feel more confident using better quality fabric.

I haven't yet used the small paisley block, but have a few ideas in mind.

09 April 2016

Chelsea Physic garden

I find it truly incredible that this little garden in the heart of Chelsea, has been around since 1686.

The snowdrops were blooming in the Chelsea Physic Garden while I was in London so a visit was called for.  

I did know that there are many varieties of snowdrops, what I didn't know was how different they are.

When it is not going by its botanical name, this one is called "Grumpy".  Not hard to see why!

Simply beautiful.

10 March 2016

A long way to go

It has now been two years since my cancer diagnosis and I am pleased to say that, so far, my recovery has gone well.   I am so thankful to my doctors and family who have all supported me through a difficult time.   Now that my energy levels are returning, I realise just how  draining the whole experience has been and how low my stamina had become.  I did manage to keep my creative life going but sometimes I had to push myself to achieve small things.  However, I am so happy that I now have the desire as well as the energy to throw myself back into what I love doing.

As I look around me, I see all the things that I have been wanting to do, but have been putting off because they were just "too hard".  Recovering these chairs was one such job.  

One of the reasons it was "too hard" was because I couldn't find the fabric I wanted.  I knew that one day I would find it and, sure enough, a trip to the Columbia Road flower market in London of all places, elicited just the fabric I had been searching for.  Tucked away in a small side street I found a shop selling furnishing fabric so once we had stocked up with tulips and hyacinths, I stocked up with my new elusive fabric.

Once home in Australia, I didn't waste too much time before I applied said fabric to the chairs and I think the result speaks for itself.

I can't believe I had to travel so far to find something so simple.

21 February 2016

Two bites of the cherry

Last year, when I ticked off my bucket list a visit to Petersham Nursery in the UK, I didn't for a minute contemplate that I would be back again within six months,  However, that is just what has happened during my blog absence.  Daughter A and family have gone to live in London.  I would like to say for a short time, but I suspect that it could be for a few years.  Lovely for them, but very sad for me.  The upside, of course, is that I now have a good reason to visit which I hope to be able to do regularly.

It was wonderful to return to Petersham in the winter and how different it was to my last visit during the summer.  I felt a bit sorry for these little primulas with their blanket of frost.

The fountain which had been splashing happily in the greenhouse on my last visit was now covered with icicles.

As usual, the displays were stunning and temptation was everywhere.

On our last visit, we had afternoon tea in the greenhouse.  This time we treated ourselves to a lovely lunch in the cafe.

I don't suppose many people get to tick something off their bucket list twice so I think I am very lucky.  Who knows, now that I have more reasons to visit the UK, I might even have three ticks against this item.  Now that would be greedy!